women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Between the Dreaming and the Coming True...

There is a different quality to the morning light these snowy December days. How shall I describe it?

(Writers are always looking for just the right word. As Mark Twain once said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.")

I guess I'd call it twilight.

I know, twilight refers to the ending of the day, not the beginning. But the otherworldly glow that rises off the snow at dawn (or close to it) resists my efforts to categorize it otherwise. I lie abed at seven something, open my eyes, and the room seems cast in silver and shades of gray - not hard like steel, or cold like ice, but rather the softer grays of fog and pussy willows.

And, like twilight, it is a between time. The day hovers upon the crest of morning, full of potential, of possibilities, of dreams. It is a pregnant pause before the business, or busy-ness, of life takes over.

It is a time to regather our thoughts from the far fields where they have been grazing overnight and shepherd them into the fold, where we can draw upon them throughout the day, whatever that day may bring.

Writer Robert Benson wrote a wonderful book, entitled, "Between the Dreaming and the Coming True." In it, he proposes that the space between those two alternatives is where we live the bulk of our lives.

It is hard to live life in that duality. But the truth is: we have little say in the matter.

We can fret at the person in front of us in the line at the post office; we can curse the little old man going 45mph.on the interstate; we can bemoan the amount of time (or lack thereof) between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But we are powerless to change it.

And how we deal with that dichotomy goes a long way towards determining the quality of our life experiences.

Creative people especially live in that twilight zone, that between space. With the freedom of a young child who has not yet learned to color within the lines, creative people bend, cross, ignore, or obliterate the boundaries that so many live their lives by.

Just because we haven't, doesn't mean we can't.

We are now living in the holy season of Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year. Contrary to our popular culture, where Christmas carols freely intermarry with Halloween ghosts and goblins, the church restricts Christmas to that period of time, so often sung about in The Twelve Days of Christmas, between Dec. 24th at midnight, which marks the moment of our Lord's birth, and Epiphany, which celebrates the arrival of three wise men from the East.

Until that night, we are in Advent, actively engaged in the process of waiting.

As I read around the blogosphere, many of us wait, as Mary did, for the birth of someone new. We mull over lists of baby names, wondering if this little person to be will be a Mary Kate or an Andrew Douglas. We clean out the extra bedroom to make room for the nursery. We attend birthing classes to ensure (or attempt to) a safe delivery for the newest member of the family.

We do more than wait. We prepare.

In our secular culture, at this time of year, waiting and preparing go hand in hand as well. We bake, we shop, we trim, we knit. We are VERY actively engaged in the process (some more than others.) And we wait. Like children, we count down the days. Like children, we are caught between the dreaming and the coming true.

We dream of chilblained hands that will be warmed by our mittens, of frozen ears that will be defrosted by our hats, of shivering shoulders that will be wrapped in our shawls, of cold feet that will be buried under our throws, of hardened hearts that will thaw in our love.

And we take up our needles and knit "the coming true."

Every day begins with a dream. And ends with the coming true.

Every piece of knitting begins with a dream. And ends with the coming true.

Every new birth begins with a dream. And ends with the coming true.

Every challenge begins with a dream. And ends with the coming true.

Every life (even Jesus') begins with a dream.

Every life (even Jesus') ends with the coming true.

And what we do within that moment's hush, in that split second when it all hangs in the balance, while our eyes and hearts adjust, between the dreaming and the coming true...

makes all the difference.

Many of my projects linger in the twilight these days as I rush towards await and prepare for the holiday.

This one included.

But I am giving it to you anyway, even though it still languishes on my needles, and is likely to do so until after Christmas.

BECAUSE it still languishes on my needles, and is likely to do so until after Christmas.

This has been a wonderful year for me. And all of you are a big part of that something wonderful.

And so, without further ado, I present the "Shhhh! It's a SOCKRET!" scarf.

Ah, yes, those two little words that are to knitters as catnip is to cats:


I was intending on blocking this little snippet of lace, but something unexpected happened between the dreaming and the coming true.




And I saw the bumps and called them good.

Feel free to block if you like. This will get you a perfectly flat scarf.

Me? I like the ripples...

And the slight bias slant the scarf take son in its unblocked state...

And the way the edges curl up a bit...

But that's me. You may be different...


Materials: one skein (400yds.) sock or fingering weight yarn. Use a space dyed or semi solid unless you want it to stripe and pool. (I used Araucania Ranco Multi in 03 Aztec.), US size 4 needles

Gauge: Approx. 6 stitches to an inch (unblocked)

Cast on 43 stitches. Work as follows:

Row 1: (ws) and all subsequent odd rows: Purl
Rows 2 & 4: Knit 1, *Knit 2, YO, SK2togP, YO, Knit 1; repeat from * to end.
Rows 6 & 8: Knit 2 together, *YO, Knit 3, YO, SK2togP: repeat from *to last five stitches, end YO, Knit 3, YO, SSK.
Rows: 10 & 12: Knit 1, *YO, SK2togP, YO, Knit 3; repeat from * to end.

Repeat this twelve row pattern until desired length or your yarn runs out (about 50 inches.) Bind off.

And that's all she wrote (literally.)


I know I will...


Anna said...

Thank you! I have more sock yarn than anyone should & am always looking for nice patterns that aren't socks! I think I may be the first to "queue" it on Ravelry (of course the queue is 300+ long so that isn't saying much!)

teabird said...

Thank you for the lovely post and the lovely pattern! I remember reading something that Jean Shinoda Bolen had written about liminal moments - Advent must be one of those liminal periods, where things are, but things are also waiting.
I've never thought about the time before the birth of Jesus, when Mary waiting and pondered and chose a name --

Carie @ Space for the Butterflies said...

Thank you for the lovely pattern - I have an almost skein of Jitterbug that might just suit the purpose.

Me, I'm waiting for Christmas, for the time off work to recharge and for snow - it's still very green around here but we get that morning light when it's very frostly - the light is almost pearlescent and very quiet and still - even in the middle of the commute!

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful post... really challenged me to reflect a little more on the season.

Kim said...

Lovely post....I SO understand what you are saying!

Thank you for sharing the scarf pattern! I think I may have a skein or two of sock yarn kicking around... :-)

EGunn said...

Well said! There's nothing like the silence and the "glow" of snow. It's too bad that we miss the reflection so often in the rush of the holidays. Thanks for reminding us that there is still time to stop in the "between" space of snow.

Lucia said...

I've heard it called morning twilight. I do like that quiet half-hour teetering on the threshold of dawn.

Interestingly, dictionary.com defines twilight as meaning the time either between daybreak and sunrise or between sunset and dark, but crepuscule as referring only to evening twilight (but the adjective crepuscular can refer to either).

(Oops, there goes my inner language geek again.)

BrownBerry said...

Linked here from Tiennie's blog. What's better than a knitter?? A knitting blogger who's a whiz with a pen and has a very giving heart - like you!! That package and poem you sent were fantastic.

Just thought you should know. I'll be back :)

Pat K said...

Indeed, it is so hard to keep Advent as it should be kept, when the TV and radio and mall keep blaring Christmas, Christmas! everywhere. Then when I am ready to really begin to keep the Christmas season, everyone's throwing out the tree and the music is back to the daily humdrum. And what a wonderful "point for meditation" is the space between the dream and the coming true. Thank you for a lovely Advent post.

Sheepish Annie said...

A beautifully written post and a lovely pattern...what a perfect early Christmas present! Thank you so much!

Donna Lee said...

The mornings when I wake up and the room is that not-quite-daylight color are some of my favorites because they are rare here. It's kind of like the L'heure bleu that the French have that describes the hour between sunset and the coming of night. There is light but not sun. It is a waiting period and hushed. The time before the solstice always feels that way. The world is quiet and waiting for the light to come back. I love this time.